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Atherosclerosis. 2005 Jul;181(1):131-5. Epub 2005 Feb 16.

Decrease of carotid intima-media thickness in patients at risk to cerebral ischemia after supplementation with folic acid, Vitamins B6 and B12.

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Institute of Pathobiochemistry, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Postfach, Jena, Germany.



Hyperhomocysteinemia is associated with atherosclerotic risk. Although vitamins can lower homocysteine (Hcy), information about effects on atherosclerosis is scarce.


We used carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) as an accepted marker of atherosclerotic changes. Fifty patients (60 +/- 8 years) with IMT> or =1 mm were included. In a double blind, randomized trial they received daily 2.5 mg folic acid, 25 mg Vitamin B6, and 0.5mg Vitamin B12 or placebo for 1 year.


In the treatment group, Hcy decreased from 10.50 +/- 3.93 to 6.56 +/- 1.53 micromol/l (P < 0.0001), whereas it remained unchanged in the placebo group (10.76 +/- 2.36 versus 10.45+/-3.30 micromol/l). IMT decreased from 1.50 +/- 0.44 to 1.42 +/- 0.48 mm (P = 0.034) in the treatment group, whereas it increased from 1.47 +/- 0.57 to 1.54 +/- 0.71 mm in the placebo group. The mean individual changes of IMT between both groups differed significantly (-0.08 +/- 0.17 versus 0.07 +/- 0.25 mm, P = 0.019). Multiple regression analysis revealed that the observed effect on IMT depended only on medication.


Vitamin supplementation significantly reduces IMT in patients at risk. This effect is independent of Hcy concentration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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